Hines European Core Fund makes mixed-use acquisition in Germany

Hines, the international real estate firm, has acquired a major new asset on behalf of the Hines European Core Fund (HECF), while announcing Simone Pozzato as HECF’s Fund Manager.

The Friesen Quartier is a 25,173-square-metre mixed-use development featuring six properties in the heart of Cologne, Germany, which has been acquired from the joint venture between PROXIMUS Real Estate AG and Quantum Immobilien, for an undisclosed price. The Friesen Quartier provides 12,000 square metres of office space, 7,000 square metres of residential and 2,000 square metres of leisure and retail that will include 460 underground car parking spaces, two daycare centres and outdoor areas.
 
This deal is the latest in a string of significant acquisitions for HECF with EUR1.1 billion committed in the last 15 months alone, including the 30,000-square-metre portfolio of eight prime sites in France to develop a series of Build-to-Rent (BTR) residential schemes, and the acquisition of the 60,750-square-metre urban logistics facility, Ventrupparken 3-5, in Copenhagen.
 
These acquisitions form part of HECF’s ongoing long-term strategy to increase exposure to residential, large-scale mixed-use and logistics assets in key European locations with strong long-term growth prospects. Following Peter Epping’s appointment as the firm’s new Global Head of ESG, Simone Pozzato, Managing Director at Hines in Europe, will continue to build on this strategy as HECF’s Fund Manager, with four years as Deputy Fund Manager that have seen HECF’s AUM triple in size since September 2017.
 
Simone Pozzato, Managing Director and HECF Fund Manager, at Hines, says: “This is an exciting time for the Fund as we continue to evolve and reshape the balance of assets, while broadening our investor base, particularly from the United States and Asian markets. We see a great opportunity for diversified real estate funds that are able to take advantage of opportunities in different countries and sectors. As such, we have a very strong pipeline of deals in progress with many in exclusivity and we remain committed to the ESG industry benchmarks we have set while delivering best-in-class returns. Our aim is to maintain, and build on, these standards which investors are now, rightly, demanding.”
 
The HECF is acknowledged throughout the industry as one of the best performing core property funds in Europe, and a leader in ESG best practice. The Fund has been named sector leader in its European diversified office/retail/non-listed core category in the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) for a fourth year in a row. In addition, HECF won the 2021 PREA Real Estate Investment Management ESG award in the Open-End Fund category. Its achievements include a 100 per cent sustainability certificate coverage across the portfolio, a 15.7 per cent reduction in energy use and a 23.8 per cent greenhouse gas reduction since 2016, for like-for-like assets. HECF has also transferred 90 per cent of its buildings, where it has landlord control, to 100 per cent renewable energy sources.
 
Alexander Knapp, Chief Investment Officer – Europe, at Hines, adds: “We have strong ambitions for our European Core Fund, and we foresee that diversified vehicles will benefit the most during the recovery which is now in sight. During Covid-19, the team took advantage of the opportunities triggered by the pandemic by completing a record number of transactions during the last 15 months, mainly off-market.
 
“Having committed more than EUR1.1 billion of new acquisitions in 2020 and 2021 demonstrates the strength of our local platform which constantly sources new investment ideas for our flagship vehicles. We are confident that Simone will continue to lead the expansion of the Fund with a dynamic and thoughtful investment approach which has shaped the success of HECF to date.”